Is Ritalin Good? Have you ever suffered or known anyone that has suffered from attention deficit disorder? A. D. D. is a biologically based condition causing a persistent pattern of difficulties, which includes three types of behavior. These three types are difficulty attending or focusing on a specific task, difficulty inhibiting behavior, and difficulty controlling impulses.

In 1950 the prescription drug Ritalin was patented and manufactured by the CIBA-Geigy Corporation. This drug stimulates the central nervous system, with effects similar to but less potent than amphetamines and more potent than caffeine (Bailey 1). Several million children are being treated with Ritalin on the grounds that they have attention deficit disorder and are suffering from there inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. In the past decade, there has been growing evidence that Ritalin has had negative effects on a child's mind and behavior leading to such disorders like psychosis, mania, drug abuse, and addiction.

It suppresses creative and spontaneous activity making them more docile and obedient because of the way that Ritalin produces malfunctions in their brain rather than improving its function (Breggin 124). Prescribing Ritalin to children with diagnosed attention deficit disorder brings more negative side effects than solutions and leads to addiction. Most parents realize that their children have the disorder once the child starts attending school. Most of the time teachers are the ones who point out the child's symptoms. The parent then takes the child to a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist for answers. "The American Psychiatric Association lists fourteen signs, of which at least eight must be present for a child to be officially classified as ADD." (Passwater 1) Out of these fourteen signs are normal actions of children.

Some of these signs include fidgeting with hands or feet, easily distracted by extraneous stimuli, having difficulty following instructions and blurting out answers before questions are completed. (Passwater 2) It would seem by these signs that when a child doesn't seem to be adapting to our system, we label them as having ADD and prescribe them Ritalin. With the new increase in prescriptions being filled around country, more and more children are on Ritalin, so much that the negative effects of Ritalin are now being seen more clearly. Ritalin .".. is supplied in 5 mg. , 10 mg.

, and 20 mg. Tablets, and in a sustained release form, Ritalin SR as 20 mg. tablets. It is readily water-soluble and intended for oral use. Many non-medical users, however, crush the tablets and snort the resulting powder.' (Bailey 1).

Such abuse of the drug can be traced currently from junior high schools to colleges. Some kids in middle school diagnosed with ADHD/ADD visited the nurse's office to have their prescription stimulants distributed to them every four hours. Other kids, according to Boston Globe's Patricia Wen, were stopping at bathrooms or hallways where the same pills are sold through an illicit black market anywhere from 1 dollars to 3 dollars a pill (1). Besides in-school street marketing of the drug, Ritalin has caused a controversy over the real percentage of college students abusing it. Dr. Eric Wellington, clinical director of psychology at the University of Wisconsin found that after interviewing over one hundred students, one in five misused their Ritalin in some form (Hanchett 1).

One way of obtaining this particular drug is through friends or roommates who acquire it to fight their dwindling attention span. Once the Ritalin is in the abuser's possession, it is crushed up and snorted through the nasal passage for an emotional, cheap high, or a study aid for a full night of cramming for finals. Kids who abuse this drug can walk in and out of a daze for three days straight, never needing to nourish themselves or remembering to. Many authorities believe that abuse of the stimulant occurs in college students because of the absence of parental supervision.

The University of Michigan's annual 'Monitoring the Future's tudy, which surveys teenagers about their drug use, shows that Ritalin is growing in popularity. From 1988 to 1998, the percentage of seniors who reported using the drug within the last year went from 0. 3 to 2. 8 percent (Hanchett 3). In Indiana, these numbers are even higher. Many of the abusers of this particular drug find it easier to locate than a cup of coffee or an over the counter stimulant like No-Doze.

This is because the production of the Ritalin increased as dramatically as new diagnoses of ADD did. However, large amounts of Ritalin produced become intercepted by dangerous, unlawful drug uses. Lactose, starch, polyethylene glycol, magnesium serrate, sucrose, talc, cellulose, mineral oil, and various dyes are all inert ingredients in Ritalin tablets, depending on their potency. These ingredients are not damaging when taken orally, but they can cause harmful problems if snorted. Ritalin tablets also produce hydrochloric acid, which is naturally found in the stomach as a digestive acid, but when this acid comes in contact with the nasal passage, it may produce open sores, nose bleeds, and the deterioration or burning of delicate nasal tissue (Bailey 4). This can have long-lasting effects even if the abuser stops using.

There are many belligerent effects that Ritalin can have on the abuser's body. Nervousness and insomnia can weaken natural strength after prolonged periods of time. Weakening of the human body occurs due to loss of appetite, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, psychotic episodes, dizziness, and headaches. Skin rashes on the surface of the skin may appear, accompanied by excessive itching. The more extreme cases and effects include fornicating (sensation of worms crawling under the skin), delusions, convulsions, and irregular heartbeat which in some cases may be life threatening. In 2000, Matthew Smith collapsed at his home on March 21 while playing with a skateboard, several hours later he was pronounced dead by medical examiner, who concluded that the boy died of a heart attack likely cause by 10 years of taking Ritalin for attention deficit disorder ("Ritalin" 1).

With this information at the fingertips of administrators everywhere, it is reassuring to find that numerous cautionary measures have been taken to prevent the abuse of Ritalin. The US Drug Enforcement Administration is in the process of completing a brochure for school nurses, asking them to keep all Ritalin in locked cabinets and calling school staff members to witness each child with a prescription actually swallowing the pill before leaving the nurse's office (Wen 4). Wen also claims that Ritalin is under the tightest control in pharmacies. Federal law can prohibit doctors from prescribing refills or calling in orders over the phone.

Congress has played a part in the participation in the discussion of the illegal abuse of Ritalin. Peter Breggin in "Talking Back to Ritalin" best summarizes the current path that society has taken with our children and Ritalin:" Our society has institutionalized drug abuse among our children. Worse yet, we abuse our children with drugs rather than making the effort to find better ways to meet their needs. In the long run, we are giving our children a very bad lesson-that drugs are the answer to emotional problems. We are encouraging a generation of youngsters to grow up relying on psychiatric drugs rather than on themselves and other human resources." (306) Still there remains much we don't know about the benefits or drawbacks of taking Ritalin, especially over many years. Nevertheless, what published research does exist, has found the long-term value of Ritalin disappointing.

The medical and non-medical use of this substance has proved very non-effective on the minds and physical well being of our children today. It makes you wonder if there is any need for this medication on the market anymore. As for ADD, it has been proven that it isn't even a genuine disorder or disease of any kind. Works Cited Bailey J. William.

"FACT LINE on Non-Medical Use of Ritalin." Indiana Prevention Resource Center November 1995: 1-6. Indiana University. Online. 22 March 2001. web K. Peter.

"Talking Back to Ritalin." Maine: Common Courage Press, 1998. Hanchett, Doug. "Speed Chills: Ritalin hits campuses: College kids Using drug to study, party." Boston Herald May 21, 2000: 1-4. Local and Regional. Online. 22 March 2001.

web regional / rita 05212000. htmPasswater A. Richard. "Ritalin Warnings: Side Effects, Cautions, Alternatives for ADD, ADHD" Ritalin Alternative 1999: 1-13. 'All About Pycnogenol' Avery Publishing Group.

Online. 23 March 2001. web "Ritalin Led To Boy's Death." The Associated Press April 18, 2000: 1-3. Channel 25 Eyewitness News. Online. 24 March 2001.

web Patricia. "As Easy To Get As Candy." The Boston Globe Oct 29, 2000: 1-13. Conservative News Forum. Online. 20 March 2001. web.